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[Monday Reading] Celebrating Births and Sunrises in Picturebooks

On births and sunrises in picturebooks for children


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

These three picturebooks wonderfully celebrate new births and sunrises.

On The Day You Were Born

Written by Margaret Wild Illustrated by Ron Brooks
Published by Allen & Unwin, 2013
ISBN: 1741147549 (ISBN13: 9781741147544). Book was borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

While I am familiar with the gritty collaboration between Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks’ in their picturebooks Fox (see my review here) and the heart-wrenching Old Pig (see my review here) – I think this is the first light-hearted book that I read from the both of them.

I love the bright colours here, and how the child’s voice seems like a refrain always, in the beginning with just three words: My daddy said – followed by the father’s recollection of how the world was introduced to this young child – from the night creatures…

… to the ancient trees, to the winged creatures in the skies, to bushes “bright with berries” – the image below made my mouth water:

I like the father’s quiet introduction of the neighbourhood to his child – how everything seems to be imbued with a new understanding and joy, as seen through the newborn’s eyes. I especially loved the last few lines on the last page – just the comforting sense of the entire world in an embrace. It is a lovely, quiet book.

When I Was Born

Written by Isabel Minhós Martins Illustrated by Madalena Matoso
Published by Tate, 2011 (First Published in 2007).
ISBN: 1854379585 (ISBN13: 9781854379580)Literary Award: Prémio Nacional de Ilustração for Menção Especial do Júri (2007). Book was borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Unlike the first picturebook, this one is written using the child’s voice on how things are very different compared to “the darkness of my mother’s tummy.”

It begins with all the things that the child has not seen yet, the things that the child has never done before.

Then it gradually moves towards that sense of awe and amazement with the world, the soaking in of all things brand new and beautiful, and that joy of discovery:

I think that this will be a good book to pair with the first one – as this introduces longer text, with fairly unusual art, but all in bold primary colours – perfect for infants.

Where The Sunrise Begins

Written by Douglas Wood Art by K. Wendy Popp
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2010
ISBN: 0689861729 (ISBN13: 9780689861727)Book was borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I love practically everything that Douglas Wood writes. We featured Aunt Mary’s Rose (see here for my review), No One But You (my review here), Miss Little’s Gift (my review here). This one most closely resembles No One But You in its gentle, soothing quality.

One can even say that there is an existential quality to this picturebook – with the repeated iterations of where does the sunrise begin followed by a few ruminations on the possible answer to this question:

Some say it begins in the treetop,
where the birds notice the first soft light
and begin to sing,
each in their own way,
with their own melody,
waking the sleepy world around them,
while the first breeze shivers the smallest leaves.


And then the reader turns the page with the seeming-definite response that, alas, it is not where the sunrise begins. While I absolutely adore the life-like painting quality of the images, I am not too certain how children would respond to it.

But then again, that is the entire idea behind exposing them to a variety of reading materials – for them to see those variations in visual expressions. The image below is one of my absolute favourites:

And so where the sunrise actually begins, I shall leave for you to discover. These are all perfect picturebooks to give to parents who are welcoming a new child in their lives.

#LitWorld2018GB Update: Portugal – Isabel Minhos Martins and Madalena Matoso are Portuguese; Australia – Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks are from Australia; USA – Douglas Wood lives in Minnesota.

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10 comments on “[Monday Reading] Celebrating Births and Sunrises in Picturebooks

  1. These are all so beautiful! I remember as a child wanting to hear the story of when I was born – it’s so strange to try and imagine that there was a world before you came into it! 🙂


  2. They all look wonderful, Myra. I have Douglas Wood’s No One But You, will look for Where The Sunrise Begins, and the others too. Thank you!


  3. These are all so beautiful. I’ll have to look them up for my children’s book blog. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a great week.


  4. I agree that these are gorgeous! As I watch my two eight month old grandchildren grow I am in awe of how much they take in around them. The realization that they have to recreate the world inside their minds is almost overwhelming!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. All three books you’ve featured in this post look fantastic. My niece loves to hear stories about the day she was born, so I bet she would love all of these books. I’ll have to add them to my list of books to buy for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. All three of these books look awesome! I’m definitely going to look for these at the library.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sarah Sammis

    Where the Sunrise Begins looks lovely. Come see what I’ve read.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The illustrations alone are beautiful in all the books you shared. Thanks for the recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my goodness, those illustrations in Where The Sunrise Begins! WOW. And the lyrical text is beautiful, as well. Thanks so much for sharing! Have a wonderful reading week!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Your blog is so gorgeous, I just had to mention that. And I really love the way you bring picture books to the forefront and make us really consider the deeper meanings. Before I just thought of them as colourful books, with fun textures or nonsense words meant to capture a child’s attention for a short period, but they all have deeper meanings/ purposes especially the ones you introduce us to.

    Liked by 1 person

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